The Best Sun Protection for Horses and Riders
Sun protection should always be a part of your daily routine, regardless of where you live and how much sun you think you are exposed to. Sun exposure can lead to skin cancer if you do not take the right precautions. This type of protection is even more important for people who are outside a lot, like equestrians.
In addition to sun protection for you, you should consider sun protection for your horse—especially if you have a light skinned or light eyed horse. While horses don’t get skin cancer as frequently as people do, they can still get it. These horses are also prone to sunburning exposed skin (think noses!). Sun protection has the added benefit of protecting your horse’s coat from bleaching in the sun.
Sun Protection for Riders
You can easily spot an equestrian in the summer from our terrible tan lines! As most riders wear long pants when they ride, you want to focus more on the exposed skin–shoulders, arms, neck, chest, face, hands, and ears. This is where you will have the most sun hitting your skin.
If you have exposed skin, you’ll want to apply a good sunscreen at least an hour before you ride and reapply every few hours. Ideally, look for SPF 30 or more. There are lots of sunscreen options on the market, and much of it is dependent on your preference of ingredients. Many people dislike the greasy feeling many sunscreens have. If that is you, look for a mineral based sunscreen. This generally gives you a more matte finish and doesn’t feel like you are oily.
Sun Protection Clothing for Riders
If you prefer to completely cover your skin to prevent sun exposure, look for clothing that is functional, breathable, and covers the desired area. There are several long-sleeve summer riding shirts available. Hats are also your best friend during summer. They prevent direct sun exposure to your face and shield your eyes. (They are also great for hiding sweaty helmet hair!)
Sun Protection for Horses
Horses with white faces, noses, or blue eyes will often need more sun protection than other horses. This is not to say other horses do not need sun protection, but these horses are more prone to sun related issues and need to be monitored closely in the sun.
Fly Mask with Long Nose - Dual functionality for this tool. You can protect your horse from flies and cover the sensitive eyes and nose areas.
Sunscreen - Sunscreen should be applied to a horse’s white skin. There are several commercial horse sunscreens available or you can use a human sunscreen. If you do choose to use human sunscreen, look for one without a strong fragrance and is water resistant.
Horse Sheet - A light summer sheet or fly sheet will help prevent your horse’s coat from bleaching out in the sun. A summer sheet will block the UV rays a bit better than a fly sheet, so consider what your horse needs before making a purchase.
Another method of sun protection for your horse is adjusting their turnout schedule. Turning your horse out at night and keeping them in during the day will significantly reduce their sun exposure.This has the added benefit of being a bit cooler for your horse than daytime turnout.